Saturday, 9 September 2017

Coastal Walking Trails in the Comox Valley- Goose Spit

    By Keith and Heather Nicol
Heather and Linda chat about shore birds
   Goose Spit is a popular recreation area in the Comox area since it offers swimming, paddle board and sea kayaking opportunities and beach walking. On September 8 with sunny skies and more moderate temperatures than the record breaking temperatures earlier in the week we decided to walk around Goose Spit in a clockwise direction. We have done the walk in counterclockwise loop in the past but we think the clockwise option is preferred. Goose Spit is accessed by Hawkins Road in Comox and there is a small car park at 49 39.762 N, 124 54.285 W near the beach entrance.  If this lot is full you can park further back along the spit where there are large parking lots.  We left around 3:00 pm and the tide was about 2 meters and rising which turned out to be a good tide to complete this walk on.  

Several boats have washed ashore at various places along Goose Spit
     The walking surface is good to start – composed of small gravels and sand. You can easily walk at the high tide mark or if the tide is lower as it was at this time you can wonder down over the cobbles to a nice sandy section along the water. Not long after we started we ran into a bird watcher we knew who said she was checking out the shore birds that might be coming through on their fall migration. The spit is a good spot for birding but in this case Linda told us she hadn’t had much luck. Goose Spit is also a place that attracts boats that have been blown ashore by storm winds and after 1 km you come across the first of 5 grounded boats that we counted on this day.  Gradually the shoreline winds to the north and after 1.9 km the gravelly beach changes to sand for 400 or so meters. This section is popular for walkers to have lunch or read in the sun and in the past we have landed our kayaks along this section since it faces south and provides views of the Comox Glacier in the distance. On this day lingering smoke from wildfires made the mountain views abit hazy and they weren’t as spectacular as have seen them.
There is a nice sandy section of shoreline facing Comox Harbor
     After you round the end of the spit the walking surface becomes less consistent. At low tides like we had the best walking is just below the intertidal vegetation on a firm gravel beach. If you are walking at higher tides you will have to walk through the partially established path that runs through this vegetation at the high tide line. You get fine views of the Comox and the sailboats moored at anchor in the lagoon. At around the 3 km mark you have to walk across a boat launch and the edge of a wharf that belongs to the Canadian military (who own the interior part of Goose Spit). Then it is back along the shore (past some more grounded boats) to the car park. The total distance is about 4.2 km and you should allow about 1 hour or longer depending your snack breaks and photo taking stops. Another option which is popular with many people is to simply walk along the outer part of the spit and then return along the same route when you want to finish your outing.  Either way check out Goose Spit since it is a unique geographic landscape with fine views in all direction. 
Along the lagoon side of the spit the walking is trickier through inter  tidal vegetation

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